So this week Colette released their new pattern, the Penny shirt dress. I’m on their Pattern Insider email list, so I got a sneak peek on Monday morning and was smitten from the off. It looks like a lovely pattern with some interesting features – I particularly like the belt detail on version 2, and the sleeves on version 1 are super pretty. Obviously, I’ve already bought it.
Anyway, I note that Colette have introduced split sizing to their printed patterns; something they’ve been doing with their Seamwork patterns since the beginning of the year. I get why they do it – you need to draft differently for different body types, plus it gets confusing if there are too many sizes on a single sheet. If you buy the misses (0-16) or curvy (18-26) printed Penny pattern directly from Colette’s online shop, you also get access to both ranges in pdf format so you can grade more easily. You can also buy the pdf on its own, if that’s your preference. For more about Colette’s approach to split sizing, click here.
This is a great development from Colette – they’re doing their best to be inclusive and cater for as many of their customers as possible. As someone whose body spans the misses and curvy ranges by as many as four sizes between waist and hips, having the option to grade is essential. I wish more pattern companies would follow suit, and when I say that I’m looking particularly at the Big Four. A quick scan of the McCalls website shows that their patterns come in two size ranges, with a crossover of one size (e.g. the ubiquitous M6696 shirt dress comes in sizes 8-16 and 16-24). PDF provision is patchy, and even when they do exist they’re split between the same size ranges. Basically, if you want to grade between the ranges you have to spend your money twice.
This puts me off buying from them. My pattern drafting skills ain’t all that, and the sizing/grading advice on the McCalls website to pick from my hip size and alter the waist is a bit of a ball ache (yes, I am lazy). Would it be cost-effective for them to offer grouped PDFs a la Colette? Or is it worth doing a mid-sized range of printed patterns in addition to the misses and curvy sizes so that there’s more overlap? How would this affect their design process? Should I just bite the bullet and give the Big Four a go?